Disclaimer: The information, articles, and tips portrayed on this blog, while based on research, do not constitute medical advice. The opinions expressed are meant to educate and inform, but not to dictate lifestyle choices or personal beliefs. These articles are meant to provoke thought on issues surrounding college health and to inform the Hopkins community of healthy information and resources.


How to Stay Healthy in the Winter - Tips from a former JHU intern!


 Hi Johns Hopkins! I am a Penn State student who had the joy of being the Fitness Intern at the Recreation Center during the Fall 2014 semester at this wonderful institution. I was asked to write a few articles for this blog and I thought I would share a few tips on how to maintain your health and fitness throughout the winter.

Exercise is STILL Important
It’s so much easier to give an excuse in the winter to not exercise because of the colder temperatures outside, but you still need to get moving! If you’re a runner, make sure you wear lots of layers, gloves, and a hat to ensure that your entire body is covered. If you’re snowed in from going to the gym, there are plenty of free YouTube channels devoted to uploading complete workouts, most without equipment! A few fan favorites are Tone it Up, Blogilates, Tony Horton Fitness, and Scott Herman Fitness. Jackie Lebeau, Assistant Director of Fitness at the O’Connor Recreation Center, encourages students to go outside and participate in winter activities during the season. Winter brings outdoor activities like skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing and ice skating. Exercise doesn't have to be strenuous in order to be effective so don't forget about winter recreational activities like sledding, snowball fights and building snowmen! We're only blessed with snow for a few months each year so get outside this winter and take advantage of the outdoor exercise opportunities!”

Enjoy your Comfort Food in Moderation
Most people associate winter with eating lots of mashed potatoes, mac and cheese, and sugar-loaded hot cocoa. While all of these foods are absolutely delicious, it is important to remember that while trying to live a healthy lifestyle involves eating these “guilt foods” in moderation. The best tip I can recommend is to allocate one meal per week as your “cheat meal” and eat a moderate (not the entire bowl!) serving of the comfort food of choice. This way you can indulge in your favorite foods without budging the scale. There are also plenty of recipes online that swap out the “evil” ingredients in your favorite foods. I recommend looking up spaghetti squash, cauliflower mac and cheese, and cauliflower mash potatoes. I can promise you that while you are getting in your daily intake of veggies, you will hardly notice the difference!

Take a Multivitamin
It’s hard to get enough of your RDA (Recommended Daily Allowance) of most nutrients through food alone. Make sure you take your multivitamin during a meal that has a little bit of fat and with a glass of water to help absorb all of the nutrients.


Make sure that you get between 7-9 hours of sleep in order to keep your immune system in check. College students are notorious for being the poster children for sleep deprivation, which makes it easier for illness to spread. For example, the recent meningitis outbreak at University of Maryland. Also make sure that you use hand sanitizer, wash your hands frequently, and keep alert for any outbreaks of any illnesses in the area.  


SEE the boosting power of breakfast


SEE Tip:  You hear it over and over again, "eat breakfast", "Breakfast is the most important meal of the day", and blah blah blah.  And the thing is, it really is important.  Often people skip it because they aren't hungry first thing in the morning, or because they are in a rush to get to class after hitting the snooze button a little too many times.   However, missing breakfast means missing out on some pretty great benefits.

Eating breakfast:

  • improves memory and academic performance
  • improves the ability to maintain weight 
  • improves consumption of nutrients
  • balances hunger levels throughout the day

SEE the PEEPs in Wolman and Charles Commons starting at 8:40am for a healthy breakfast bite 
to start your last week of classes right! 

HKB Quit Tip:  A 2013 study from Columbia found that of cigarette smokers who had their first smoke first thing in the morning (within 30 minutes of waking up), they were more at risk for head, neck, and lung cancer than those who would wait beyond that point.  While both groups were at risk for cancer, it seems that having the cigarette first thing, and likely breathing in more deeply, was greatly correlated with the forms of cancer.  As a way to reduce the risk, try putting off your first cigarette of the day by an hour from when you normally do.  See how that feels for you, and see if you can do it.  If you can do that, see if you can push it back by another hour the next week, and continue to see how late you can wait to have your first cigarette.

Mellow Out Monday: Stressful days can be tackled by something as simple as eating yogurt.  Grab some yogurt for the probiotic benefit which has been linked to lowering depression and anxiety (in mice), and providing a healthier digestive tract.

If you are looking for continued stress relief, check out Mellow Out Monday in the MSE on Q level starting at 8pm tonight.  Get a FREE back rub from a trained stressbuster and feel better fast!